From WTP Vol. VI #9
Anna Alcott at Fruitlands
Fruitlands. Harvard, MA. 1843.
My notebook is heavy with sky. Red
little leaves crumple between my toes,
I place them between brown pages
pacing out the afternoon. No picnic.
No beasts of burden. No beasts
at all. The list of NOs sweats off
the pages. No molasses. No
sugar. No coffee, no tea, no eggs.
No meat. No shoes. No one stays
more than a few weeks. No
more than sixteen of us at a time.
No one young and soft to spy on
when the sun aches orange on the hills.
No butter. My mother doesn’t
want us to be here. None of us do.
Three sisters cramped in the attic.
No, father, you can’t read my diary.
Where did the pages go? The day
reeks stale in our bunks, the leaves
grow brown and fragile. They shake free
from my notebook and twirl hopeful,
aimless, dead toward the ground.
Bob Sykora is the author of the chapbook I Was Talking About Love–You Are Talking About Geography (Nostrovia! 2016). A recent graduate of the UMass Boston MFA program, he serves as a poetry reader for Split Lip Magazine.